Carving a path towards consulting from current situation.

Application consulting
New answer on Sep 24, 2019
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Anonymous A asked on Sep 23, 2019

I am keen on a career in consulting but my academic performance during undergrad and graduate school was not worth mentioning on my CV (I did attend top schools though has alums in top tier consulting and IB). I have tried applying to consulting firms but don't get invited for an interview. What other alternatives do I have? I am not too keen on going to B-school as it is a large investment in terms of time and money and not quite sure how much of an edge it would give me when applying to these firms.

PS - Has anyone used LinkedIn in any interesting way to get into consulting/IB (publishing articles, building thought leadership on a topic, etc.?)

(edited)

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Udayan
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updated an answer on Sep 24, 2019
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Hi,

Getting into top consulting firms does require one to have a background that is exciting for the firm. This often (but not always) means going to a target school, achieving high grades in your classes and having interesting extra curricular activities/work experience to talk about.

It appears that you have the target school but not a good GPA. If you want to go to consulting in this scenario, business school is definitely a good way to go about it. Consulting firms hire from there and if you are at a top 10 school your chances of making it are quite high. Of course this comes with a high price tag, but is the one with the highest probability of success.

Is it possible to get in even without this? Yes under some circumstances. At the end of the day consulting firms need people who are experts in their chosen field and bring in a wealth of knowledge. So an alternative path to consulting would be to acquire a lot of experise in a particular field you are passionate about, over a period of 4-5 years. Get recognized as a leader in this field, and then leverage that to cross over into consulting

Another easier way is to enter consulting but not as a consultant - for example you can apply to be a solutions consultant in a McKinsey solutions team or an R&I consultant. These are typically seen as less prestigious roles but you still get to work at a prestigious firm.

(edited)

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Aws
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replied on Sep 24, 2019
Senior Consultant @ Google | McKinsey, BCG, Bain exp. as Client | 100+ REAL MBB cases

Hi A,

There are more roads that lead to Rome, or consulting in this case.

In your case I would reach out to your network of consultants and have coffee/virtual chats with them about your interest in consulting. If you are able to connect to a senior level person within the company (Partner level ideally) and secure a referral through them, your chances of being invited to the interview will be much more stronger.

Best, Aws

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Baris
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updated an answer on Sep 24, 2019
Ex McKinsey | Ex Top Tier Private Equity | Experimenter | Investor | +150 Case Interviews

Hi, and good luck on the journey!

I feel you and I think this is one of the worst aspects of MBB recruiting that does not have a definite answer. Because they get soooo many applications with such good credentials, they are basically forced to automatically eliminate most people without even meeting them. And I can hear you saying "man, if I can get into that room, I will show them I am worth considering but how do I get in there"?

In your situation, if the automatic elimination system does not let you in, you need to go out of that system, and there is a (in my opinion dirty but a useful) word in how to do that, NETWORK.

I would recommend you to meet and network with people potentially from your ex schools that got offers from MBB, friend's friends who work there, anyone you can think of. Offer them coffe, drinks, dinner whatever you can to get them to meet you in person. If you can get one of them, there you go, you are at an unofficial interview table. From that moment, you need to show that person, AUTHENTICALLY, why you can add so much value to their firm, and despite your grades etc. why they should give you a chance.

If you can really convince that person at that table, they might recommend you to their recruiter and your file will be taken out from the "automatic no" binder to "consideration" binder. Ofcourse for all of this to happen, you also need to have what it takes as well.

Good luck and hope it all goes well

Cheers

(edited)

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Vlad
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replied on Sep 24, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Working with a well-established brand / working with 2nd Tier consulting company will help.

I will also look at the extracurricular activities:

  1. Launching your own venture and entrepreneurial activities (even failing them is fine)
  2. Grants / scholarships - even better if related to some research or entrepreneurial projects
  3. Projects for companies - you may consider doing a free project for the company or a startup or writing a case that future grads will use
  4. Volunteer / social activities. I would aim at the activities where you can have a leadership role. Organizing some club may work as well.
  5. Case Competitions-especially the ones organized by your target company
  6. Researches / articles published in well-known sources

I would try to go deep rather than broad. It's good to have something that you can put as a part-time job in your resume rather than just a bullet point. It will also give you great stories for the FIT part of the interview.

Best,

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Udayan

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Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience
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